Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Friendship to All, Pass it On

Ever since The Foundation For a Better Life started putting out these videos I have absolutely loved them.

The videos below are about friendship, something that is much needed in these days filled with pressure to look a certain way, pressure to act a certain way, and increasing amounts of bullying in many forms (including cyber-bullying).

I have sadly heard of a few instances where members of the Church will not be friends with those of other Faiths. How horribly wrong and sad. There are many great people with high standards to which we can be friends.

In the For Strength of Youth pamphlet is states, "Choose your friends carefully. They will greatly influence how you think and act, and even help determine the person you will become. Choose friends who share your values so you can strengthen and encourage each other in living high standards. A true friend will encourage you to be your best self."

Choosing friends carefully is, of course, very important but we need not narrow our friendships simply to Mormons or even Christians. We could learn much and gain great friendships from all. Enjoy the video below of three friends with very different backgrounds.

The pamphlet continues on to say, "To have good friends, be a good friend yourself. Show interest in others and let them know you care about them. Treat everyone with kindness and respect. Go of your way to be a friend to those who are shy or do not feel included."

This video is a perfect example of this.

And finally this is one of my favorite stories from the March, Friend magazine. The story truly shows what a huge difference one friend can make. (click pictures to enlarge and read)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hope Ya Know, We Had a Hard Time

It seems that with each passing week I hear of someone else who has lost their job or their home or is going through a myriad of individual trials. This video is so touching and powerful. I love the message it shares of helping others even in your own time of trial. It brought me to tears.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Do You Know What Temptation Means?

“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means–the only complete realist.” - C.S. Lewis

I have had this quote glued into my scriptures since Seminary and whenever I come across the page it is glued in I can't help but read it. I've always heard people say that "Utah Mormons" are sheltered. Well in some ways maybe Utah Mormons are because the temptations are in some ways less in Utah, but I love C.S. Lewis' thoughts that those who have been bad "have lived a sheltered life by a always giving in". So no matter if you are from Utah or from anywhere else, if you try to keep the commandments and you don't give into temptation then you become less sheltered and come to understand temptation much more deeply. It is those of us who fight against an army, walk against the wind, it is those of us who don't give in after 5 minutes of temptation, who truly know what temptation means. It is not where we live but how we live that helps us to become stronger and to know more about "badness" so we can continue to flee from it.

Because Christ lived a perfect life I don't think we always realize how much He understands of what we go through when it comes to being tempted. He was tempted constantly. I am sure Satan worked harder on Him then on anyone who has ever walked the face of the Earth. Just as C.S. Lewis so perfectly stated, " only man who knows to the full what tempation means..."

I hope that we can always remember that Christ is there for us in all things and that He understands all things. Not only can the Savior help us once we have already sinned and fallen into temptation but he can so perfectly, sympathetically, and understandingly guide us when we are in the midst of temptation because He knows all to well what it is like to stand where we stand in times when Satan is near.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Official Church Radio Station

Many of you may have already heard but for those who have not the Church has come out with Mormon Channel an official radio station of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

It is available to listen to online 24 hours a day by clicking on the link in the top right corner titled Listen Now. You can subscribe to podcasts or download individual shows from the site. The radio station is also available on HD radio in several locations.
I hope this is helpful to some.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Seek and Give

I just had to pass this information on. Someone I know and love has created a site called "where you can help generate donations for charities by searching the Internet."

The search engine is powered by google and all you have to do is use their page to "search the web and make a difference."

Here is an example from the site of how it works: "As little as 100 searches a month by you can generate $3.50 for charities that's $42.00 a year with just an average of 3 searches a day! Imagine if you have 10 friends doing the same, that's $420 a year and if they have 10 friends that's $4,200 a year and 1000 friends is $42,000 a year and 10,000 friends is $420,000 a year to charities and as little as $20 can put a child into grade school for a year, with a set of school clothes and school supplies! So tell your friends and family and start searching and let the giving begin!"

They also suggest to make it easier to remember to use this search engine to "BookMark Us and make your Home Page and if you have a blog or website link to us."

There are three charities that have already been recommended but you can recommend specific charities that you would be interested in the money being donated to as well by visiting the Seek and Give Blog.

I think this is such a great idea and such a simple way to give by doing something we all do so often. I hope you'll give it a try and pass the information on to others you know.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Boring Church Meetings

You know those Sundays that seem to just drag on. The speaker is boring because they are reading their talk with their head down. The Gospel Doctrine teacher hasn't prepared well. And then in Relief Society/Elder's Quorum there is no class involvement. If you notice when reading these statements they are all focused on someone else and what they did or did not do. Well I have been thinking a little bit about my attitude towards Church meetings and my role in what I get out of them.

Does it Say More About the Teacher-or About You?

As I have been thinking I found this great quote: "Now I would ask you to think about...your own ability to have great spiritual experiences as you attend a class or a sacrament meeting on Sunday. What is your role in creating the environment in which the Spirit can teach you the things you need to know? If you find a Church class or a sacrament meeting boring, does that say more about the teacher—or about you?"

What great questions to ask ourselves. What a great way to check our attitudes and the roles we are taking in our meetings. They have me thinking.

“What do you do if you find yourself caught in a boring sacrament meeting?”

The quote continues, "Consider the response of President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) when someone once asked him, “What do you do if you find yourself caught in a boring sacrament meeting?” President Kimball thought a moment, then replied, “I don’t know; I’ve never been in one.” With his long years of Church experience, President Kimball had undoubtedly been to many meetings where people had read their talks, spoken in a monotone, or given travelogues instead of teaching doctrine. But most likely, President Kimball was teaching that he did not go to sacrament meeting to be entertained; he went to worship the Lord, renew his covenants, and be taught from on high. If he attended with an open heart, a desire to be “nourished by the good word of God” (Moroni 6:4), and a prayer—rather than judgment—for the speakers, the Spirit would teach him what he needed to do to be a more effective and faithful disciple. President Kimball was teaching the principle of learning by the Spirit" (A. Roger Merrill, “To Be Edified and Rejoice Together,” Ensign, Jan 2007, 64–69).

I love the statement that sacrament meeting is not to entertain us but we attend Church to worship, renew covenants, and to be taught. So if we stop looking for the speaker or teacher to entertain and start listening to the Spirit then we will be taught and edified. The teacher/speaker still holds a role but we must do our part and so importantly we must pray for those who teach and not judge them. I loved that.

Losing our Lives in Service to Others

Finally I love this last quote and example given by Elder Oaks in General Conference, "Each of us should apply that principle (losing our lives in service to others) to our attitudes in attending church. Some say “I didn’t learn anything today” or “No one was friendly to me” or “I was offended” or “The Church is not filling my needs.” All those answers are self-centered, and all retard spiritual growth.

In contrast, a wise friend wrote:

“Years ago, I changed my attitude about going to church. No longer do I go to church for my sake, but to think of others. I make a point of saying hello to people who sit alone, to welcome visitors, . . . to volunteer for an assignment. . . .

“In short, I go to church each week with the intent of being active, not passive, and making a positive difference in people’s lives. Consequently, my attendance at Church meetings is so much more enjoyable and fulfilling.”

All of this illustrates the eternal principle that we are happier and more fulfilled when we act and serve for what we give, not for what we get."

Our Job is to Seek to Learn and to Serve

What a powerful example. I love that. I think so often we think "what's in it for me" or "I didn't get anything out of that." But if we were to change our attitudes and focus on our own role as learners and attend Church to be taught and uplifted by the Spirit we would be there for the right reasons; we would be there to worship the Lord.

So first thing I've determined is that we need to focus on our role as this is more about us and our experience. Then on the total flip side we need to think of others as we attend Church. We need to actively seek out and serve others while we attend. Notice those that may be sitting by themselves, sign up to help out with something that maybe you normally wouldn't, or say hello and smile at someone in the hall. Simple things can make a big difference, a big spiritual difference in our own and other's Church going experience.

It Begins Before Sunday

I often do not prepare myself adequately for this day and consequently we are running around on Sunday mornings and rushing in just a few minutes before the meeting starts. I often feel frazzled and much less than Spirit-filled before the meetings begin. This makes me think of this wonderful primary song:

Saturday is a special day.
It’s the day we get ready for Sunday:
We clean the house, and we shop at the store,
So we won’t have to work until Monday.
We brush our clothes, and we shine our shoes,
And we call it our get-the-work-done day.
Then we trim our nails, and we shampoo our hair,
So we can be ready for Sunday!

If we prepare ourselves and get ready for Sunday our meetings will be far more spiritual and no where close to boring. If we do our part, we may not be entertained socially but we will be entertained spiritually. Let us go to Church as prepared learners and students. Let us go to Church to uplift and to serve others. Let us prepare ourselves for the special and sacred sabbath day.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Motherhood is Near to Divinity

"Many years ago the First Presidency issued a statement that has had a profound and lasting influence upon me. “Motherhood,” they wrote, “is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels.” (Next to the Angels, Elder Russell M. Nelson, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles)

With Mother's Day approaching I have been thinking of my amazing Mother. My Mom is indeed next to the angels. She is an angel. She is so incredibly selfless. She is so loving. She is so wise. She is so understanding. Her life has been solely dedicated to her family and to the Lord. She gives her all in both of these regards. I have never known her to give less than 100%. She is a great example to me of what a women and mother should be. I love her.
Along with thinking of my Mother I have been thinking of my role as a mother. I have a wonderful two year old boy and I have another equally as wonderful little one growing inside me. I am so blessed.

This last Sunday I was sick and had to stay home from church. I watched two hours of General Conference reruns none of which were about motherhood or womanhood but for some reason I was reminded so strongly of how blessed I am to be a mother and wife. As I rested on the couch I noticed the mess on the floor and rather than give me stress it brought me great joy. There were a few graham crackers broken up on the living room floor along with my little boys pajamas squished perfectly how they were when he stepped out of them. Do I realize the responsibility I have to raise the little boy that slept in those pajamas last night and who munched on a little bit of cracker and left it on the floor for later? Do I get it? Well in that moment I did. I got it. I got how important my role is. I forgot all of the tantrums and the spilled glasses of water. I realized that my role is divine, that it is next to divinity. I realized that God is entrusting me with these special children, His children, Children of God.

Now that day I got it and right now again (in tears), I think I am grasping it, but there will still be those days and those moments of spilled milk and those days and those moments of crying spells and I hope that I can always remember deep down in side that my role is divine and my children are my greatest blessing.

Let us take these words from President Hinckley and always remember our divine responsibility and our greatest blessing:

"Let every mother realize that she has no greater blessing than the children which have come to her as a gift from the Almighty; that she has no greater mission than to rear them in light and truth, and understanding and love; that she will have no greater happiness than to see them grow into young men and women who respect principles of virtue, who walk free from the stain of immorality and from the shame of delinquency. . . . I remind mothers everywhere of the sanctity of your calling. No other can adequately take your place. No responsibility is greater, no obligation more binding than that you rear in love and peace and integrity those whom you have brought into the world."

I hope we all can have a Happy Mother's Day as we remember our wonderful Mothers and as we remember the blessing it is to be mothers. I hope we will also remember on this day that we do not need to be perfect as long as we remember that our children are Children of God.